VW Buys Blackberry's Auto R&D Center In Germany

Blackberry's future isn't just tied to comically oversized phones with real keyboards. It's about injecting its software into as many companies as possible. Part of that is the auto industry, which is why selling Blackberry's Bochum, Germany R&D facility to Volkswagen seems like a step backwards. It's not. Here's why.

Blackberry bought QNX in 2010 and instantly snagged a foothold in the connected car space. QNX software powers the dozens of infotainment systems, including those from BMW, Chrysler, and GM. Plus, it can play nice with the latest in-car offerings from both Apple and Google.

Since Blackberry is hellbent on returning to profitability by its 2016 fiscal year, it needs to offload dead weight, and by selling to VW, it can put all its auto focus into broadening the reach of QNX.

For VW, it gets 200 employees in Germany to staff its newly-formed Volkswagen Infotainment division, and those employees are already indoctrinated in the ways of QNX, which the VW Group uses to power everything from Golfs to A8s.

It's a win-win for both companies, with Blackberry nixing a division it doesn't need and VW securing a workforce that's already familiar with the software running its infotainment systems. And Blackberry's got a better shot of being one of the few dominant OSes in cars than delivering a phone that people want.